What happens on a DUFF trip? You meet other fans from the places you’re visiting, let them know more about you and your fandom, and enable fans at home to vicariously share in your travels! In this case, the winner will be expected to attend Worldcon in Wellington in July/August and strongly encouraged to travel and meet fans where they will represent their country’s fandom and generally be a good ambassador for it. This tends to involve helping out as much as possible at conventions, which can include taking part in the programme, possibly presenting an award if there’s an award ceremony, helping with fund raising for future DUFF trips, and generally being as visible and friendly as you can. Before and/or after the convention, travelling to meet other fans in different places is expected; the winner will usually plan some extra time for this, taking in specific events where possible.
On my own DUFF trip in 2017, I not only went to Lexicon in New Zealand and Continuum in Melbourne, but I met a variety of fans and genre people in New Zealand, Melbourne, Canberra and beyond.
What is expected of the winner after the trip? After the trip, the winner will become the new North American DUFF administrator. It will be their duty to raise and manage DUFF’s money in North American, gather and count the North American votes for the next two races and take the lead role in administering the next trip to North America (This is not as hard as it sounds, since previous administrators are generally available to help and advise.) During this time, the administrator should ideally also be writing a report of their trip, to publish and sell to raise additional money for the fund.
In that regard, in 2017, I wrote my report,. “What I did on my Summer Vacation: The 2017 Down Under Fan Fund Report” which you can still buy at my website. I also have participated in a number of auctions at various cons, gotten people like Seanan McGuire to donate signed merchandise, and researched various fan organizations to obtain donations. By all of these methods, I have helped strengthen and replenish the fund. These are the sorts of activities my successor should also do.
Person X is standing. There’s no way I could beat them. What should I do? One of the important fundraising methods for DUFF is the money people pay to vote. To get people to vote there needs to be a strong field of candidates. The fund needs people to stand and then to do their best to win by encouraging more votes, since this all contributes to fundraising. Standing as a candidate can be a lot of fun even if you don’t win, and good practice for standing again (by which time you might be the favourite). However, do make sure you’re prepared to make the trip: there’s always the chance of an upset victory!
But isn’t it just a popularity contest? Being popular and well-known throughout SF fandom certainly helps, but that might not be enough to win by itself. In the past very popular candidates have been beaten by candidates who put a lot of work into their campaigns, including active support from their nominators, which encouraged a lot more people to vote. And candidates can become more popular as part of standing for DUFF.